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UK Industry Asks For Reversal Of Irish Visa Restrictions

UK Industry Asks For Reversal Of Irish Visa Restrictions

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UNITED KINGDOM (CelebrityAccess) Alex Sobel MP, representing several industry associations, has called upon immigration minister Caroline Noakes to reverse changes to recent certificate of sponsorship arrangements that the UK entertainment industry says could limit tours to the Republic of Ireland, according to IQ magazine.

The letter, which IQ has posted here, reportedly represents the Concert Promoters Association, Association of Independent Festivals and Entertainment Agents Association, Coda Agency, Music Venue Trust and UK Music. They are asking the Home Office to rethink a new guidance that requires American artists to apply for British visas if arriving via the Irish republic. UK Visas and Immigration apparently revised guidance last year so that North American artists would require UK visas if arriving via Ireland.

“The entertainment industry is uniquely impacted by these changes because there are thousands of entertainment personnel who, for instance, perform or work at a show in Dublin the day before coming to the UK,” the letter says. “They work on very tight schedules and sometimes very tight budgets. It’s possible many hundreds of acts will be forced to cancel the Irish leg of their tour because it complicates their UK tour, or vice versa.”

“The Home Office needs to apply some common sense to this issue and reinstate the old system for visiting entertainers. This is bureaucratic box-ticking of the worst sort,” Sobel, Labour MP for Leeds North West, writes. “The danger is performers arriving from the US and Canada are likely to organise shorter European tours – or not at all – due to the additional costs and bureaucracy. At a time when we’re told the UK ought to be more outward looking and business focused, the Home Office has chosen to impose a silly short-sighted policy on one of Britain’s most productive industries.”

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